Nautilus Biotechnology cofounders Parag Mallick and Sujal Patel had both practical and visionary aspirations for designing a revolutionary proteomics analysis platform.
They shared a desire to create a proteomic analysis platform that would accelerate the efficient development of novel therapeutics and diagnostics, but the two founders focused on different aspects of this ultimate goal.
In this blog post we cover how Parag and Sujal’s complimentary motivations drive Nautilus in a way designed to enable developments in proteomics that can truly change the world.
The proteome is the complete set and abundances of proteins in a biological sample. Proteins drive most biological processes at the molecular level. Ccomprehensively measuring and analyzing the proteome with novel proteomic analysis technologies will provide a more fundamental understanding of these processes and how we can alter them to design new precision medicines and more.
In the years leading up to Nautilus’ founding, co-founder and Chief Scientist Parag Mallick, was excited by the potential of proteomics, but found current proteomics technologies like affinity probes and mass spectrometry lacking. There are three main reasons for this:
After identifying these practical problems, Parag came up with the conceptual framework for the Nautilus Proteome Analysis Platform (which we’ll describe in more detail below) and found an excellent collaborator in Sujal Patel who was inspired by the world-changing applications of proteomics.
While Parag was focused on these practical motivations for improving proteomic analysis technologies, Nautilus co-founder and CEO Sujal Patel was perhaps more motivated by the Nautilus platform’s potential to fundamentally change healthcare. As Sujal mentioned in a recent interview:
Indeed, next generation proteomic analysis technologies like the Nautilus platform have the potential to improve medicine across the continuum of care including:
These proteomics applications should not only make medicine more effective, but should also decrease healthcare costs by leading to fewer failed clinical trials, more appropriate treatments, and fewer side effects.
Healthcare is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of the applications of proteomics. You can read more about the potentially world-changing applications of proteomics in Parag Mallick’s recent blog post for the UN.
These possibilities motivated the founding of Nautilus, but how exactly will Nautilus achieve them?
The Nautilus platform is designed to quantify the proteome using single molecule analysis and machine learning. It leverages hyper-dense single-molecule arrays similar to the ever-improving microchips in your computer. These contain billions of “landing pads” that isolate single proteins (one protein per pad). To identify the proteins on each pad, we repeatedly flow multi-affinity probes over the array and these selectively bind to short motifs found in a fraction of the proteins. We monitor binding across the entire array and use machine learning algorithms to determine protein identity from the binding patterns occurring at each pad.
The simultaneous, repeated analysis of billions of protein molecules is expected to provide us with unprecedented sensitivity and dynamic range. By tallying up the proteins identified at each landing pad, we aim to build a full picture of the proteome from data collected at the scale of single protein molecules and deliver users a comprehensive list of proteins and their abundances. In addition, our platform queries full-length proteins and is compatible with affinity reagents that detect amino acid modifications known as proteoforms. Ultimately, we believe the Nautilus Proteome Analysis Platform will accurately identify and quantify 95% of the human proteome.
The Nautilus Proteome Analysis Platform is designed to solve the practical problems in proteomics and enable researchers to achieve truly inspiring applications!
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